|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is organized in one unarranged series.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains the papers of Elwood G., Donald G., and M. Gardner Tewksbury. The papers of Elwood G. Tewksbury including clippings and correspondence, and primarily document his ordination, missionary activities in China, and role in the Boxer Siege of Peking in 1900. There are also notes and a manuscript which document Tewksbury's work on Chinese hymnology. The collection includes a set of 20 posters in Chinese produced or distributed by the China Sunday School Union 主日學合會 and the Chinese Catholic Literature Society. The CSSU was formed in 1910 with the support of the British Sunday School Union, and E.G. Tewsbury served as its first general secretary. These posters were evidently produced for a Chinese audience as promotional media and as visual didactic aids. Though some posters feature images from European Christian art, many of the designs are modeled on Chinese aesthetics, both traditional and modern. There is also a large, brush-written poster in Chinese, written on the occasion of Tewksbury's return to the United States. Digital images of these items, as well as metadata describing their content, are available for consultation on a CDR in Box 2, Folder 6. Assorted newspaper clippings and correspondence document the experience of the Tewksbury family in the British legation during the Boxer siege of Peking, including a copy of a message seeking help for the besieged with hand-drawn map, notes and diagrams on defense of British legation, and correspondence between Tewksbury and officials of the United States legation and military. The collection also contains an official communication in Chinese between Qing officials discussing military preparations and the arrest and execution of foreigners and converts. An English translation is included. There is also a list in Chinese of local bands mustered during the Boxer Rebellion, as well as over ninety black and white prints extracted from publications. Subject matter include the Boxer Rebellion, missions and missionaries, Chinese Christians, legations in Peking, street scenes, and various historical figures. The papers of Donald G. Tewksbury include manuscript copies of his papers, book reviews, and teaching materials on the history of China, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. The papers of M. Gardner Tewksbury include a collection of Western accounts of the Communist revolution as well as notes and other published and manuscript materials on modern China. Finally, the collection contains a bound, wooden photo album containing pictures of the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. The photographs were taken by C. A. Killie, who was in the same group as Elwood Tewksbury during the siege.
Burke Library record group:
Missionary Research Library Archives: MRL6, China
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, MRL6: Elwood G. and Donald G. Tewksbury Papers, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Formerly part of the independent Missionary Research Library (MRL), these records were accessioned by the Burke Library at the time of the MRL's closure in 1976. Evidence suggests that at some point the papers of Elwood G. Tewksbury came into the possession of his son Donald G. Tewksbury. There are also indications that Elwood G. Tewksbury's son, M. Gardner Tewksbury, added material to the combined papers of Elwood G. and Donald G. Tewksbury prior to their being deposited in the Missionary Research Library (MRL). M. Gardner Tewksbury transferred a wooden bound album to the MRL in 1972; this photo album is in box 4.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Metal clips and staples were removed from materials and folded items were flattened. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Acidic items were separated from one another by interleaving with acid-free paper as needed. Any items in an advanced state of deterioration were placed in Mylar envelopes. In 2014, the collection was updated as part of the Henry Luce Foundation project grant. The finding aid was created by Daniel Asen in 2007, revised by Gregory Adam Scott in 2010, updated by Brigette C. Kamsler in 2014 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2022.
2022-03-18 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Elwood Gardner Tewksbury was born in 1865 in West Newbury, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1887 and Hartford Theological Seminary in 1890. He was ordained at the East Somerville, Massachusetts, Congregational Church in 1890. In 1890 Elwood G. Tewksbury and his wife Grace Holbrook began serving at the North China mission under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. They served at the Tongzhou Mission from 1890 – 1898 and 1899 – 1906. During his time at Tongzhou, Elwood G. Tewksbury was involved with the Tungchow Farm, a poor-relief program which produced foreign vegetables and fruits. Tewksbury also taught physics and chemistry at North China College in Tongzhou. Elwood G., Grace Holbrook and their two sons, Malcolm Gardner and Donald George Tewksbury were besieged in the British legation during the Boxer Rebellion. Elwood G. Tewksbury played a role in organizing the defense of the area in which they were ensconced. Elwood G. Tewksbury served as the executive secretary of the Laymen's and Young People's Missionary Movement in New York City from 1907 – 1910. During this period he also gave many lectures. Beginning in 1910 Elwood G. Tewksbury served as the first secretary for the China Sunday School Union of the World's Sunday School Association. During this time Tewksbury promoted the training of staff and pedagogical development of Sunday schools in China. Elwood G. Tewksbury served as a musical co-editor for Chinese Hymnal (1907), which was edited by Henry Blodget and Chauncey Goodrich. Elwood G. Tewksbury died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1945.
Donald George Tewksbury was born in 1894. He became professor of Comparative Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. His published works include Founding of American colleges and universities before the Civil War: With particular Reference to the Religious Influences bearing upon the College movement (1932), several sourcebooks on East Asian political ideology, and numerous book reviews. Donald G. Tewksbury died in 1958.
Malcolm Gardner Tewksbury authored Speak Chinese (1948) and co-authored Speak Mandarin: A beginning text in spoken Chinese (1967) with Henry C. Fenn.